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Security of tenure

Security of tenure, as understood in Kenya’s legal discourse, can be described as both ethnocentric and minimalist. If security of tenure is taken to imply acquisition of title deed, then far many Kenyans can be said to be deprived of this important element of citizenship. However read broadly there are various elements and diverse models of experiencing and pursuing security of tenure.

This understanding is rooted in a broad idea that security of tenure as a culmination of positive inspiring ideas and also as what is delivered through everyday ‘experiments’. PT’s work focuses on these diverse models and experiences leading to security of tenure. Security of tenure is seen as both ‘spatial form’ and ‘social processes. Spatial form is about people realizing the right to land. This is accompanied in our model with the acquisition or construction of housing.  Social process on the other hand is about building the ‘adhesion’ that enables security of tenure. Security of tenure must be accompanied with this social process and that is why the efforts to ensure security of tenure go hand in hand with animation of and building a national federation of the urban poor. The result is a vibrant Muungano Wa Wanavijiji.

  1. As part of the process leading up to secure tenure, PT mobilizes communities and facilitates them to collect data that would primarily be used in prioritizing the settlements’ needs besides moving towards regularization of land ownership with the government. In the process, communities are encouraged to conduct land searches with an aim of identifying the current status of land upon which they settle. The community led enumeration and mapping exercises are also geared towards developing mutually acceptable solutions as the data collected provides a basis upon which demand for amenities and services would be made. After establishing the total population living in given settlements, joint planning sessions would be held with utility companies after which site identification for amenities such as water and sanitation facilities is done. Utility companies can then advice on the best suited locations and for the ear-marked facilities such as water chambers after overlaying the settlement maps with existing infrastructure maps.


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